How to be Prepared for this Year’s Tax Season
Stacey J. Drubner, JD, LICSW, MPH
Tax Season is underway, and the State and Federal filing deadlines have been extended until May 17, 2021.
Some people may feel confident and have enough knowledge or a simple enough tax situation to file without assistance. You will have to decide if you will file by mail or electronically. The IRS prefers and recommends filing electronically as it is more efficient, more secure, and usually results in a faster refund.
Self-Help Tax Resources
IRS.Gov – Information on Electronic Filing
Mass.Gov – Tax Information for 2020 Filing
Help Finding Reputable Tax Assistance
Mass.Gov – Finding a tax professional to Help with your Taxes
Free Tax Assistance
Volunteer Tax Assistance Programs offer free tax help to people who generally make $57,000 or less, including persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. They also help with getting tax credits and refunds.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Masscap – Volunteer Tax Assistance Program
IRS.Gov -Free Tax-Return Preparation-for-Qualifying-Taxpayers
Special COVID-19 Tax Considerations
Unemployment Fraud during COVID
Unemployment fraud is coming to light as people start preparing taxes. If you have concerns about or believe you have been a victim of unemployment fraud, do the following:
- Report Unemployment Fraud to the Department of Unemployment (Mass.Gov)
- Review IRS Guidance to Taxpayers on Unemployment Theft and Fraud
- Notify your local police department and file an official report
- Email email@example.com so that Human Resources can track these incidents and work with the Unemployment Insurance Fraud Unit
Stimulus Payments and Taxes
Information from the IRS:
- Those who may be eligible for stimulus payments should carefully review the guidelines for the IRS.Gov Recovery Rebate Information
- Anyone who received the maximum amount Economic Impact Payments automatically does not need to include any information about their payments when they file.
- Advance stimulus payments received separately are not taxable, and they do not reduce the taxpayer’s refund when they file in 2021.
- Those who didn’t receive a payment or only received a partial payment may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return. Tax preparation software, including IRS Free File, will help taxpayers figure the amount.
CNET – Stimulus Checks and your 2020 Taxes: What you Need to Know when you File
COVID Relief Bill Tax Breaks
CNBC – COVID Relief Bill Tax Breaks
The EAP is available to help with many financial issues. Additional information can be found in the EAP COVID Financial Resources section of this site. Call 1-866-724-4327 to speak confidentially to an EAP Consultant or schedule an appointment via the online form.